Valuation Insights & Perspectives

Appraisal Institute Education Trust’s women and minority scholarships pave the way for diversity in the profession

Appraisal Institute Education Trust’s women and minority scholarships pave the way for diversity in the profession

Adam Webster

EACH YEAR, THE APPRAISAL INSTITUTE EDUCATION TRUST DISBURSES $20,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS TO OVER 20 MINORITIES AND WOMEN WHO ARE TAKING CLASS LOADS OR COURSEWORK TOWARD SPECIALIZING IN REAL ESTATE VALUATION OR A RELATED FIELD. The ALET dedicates $10,00 annually to each of its two main programs: the Minorities and Women Scholarship Fund and the Regional Scholarship Program, also aimed at women and minorities.

The Appraisal Institute Education Trust was founded as a non-profit charitable organization 55 years ago for charitable, literary, educational and scientific purposes, including the reception, administration and disbursement of funds to improve, advance, research and teach the techniques of real estate appraisal. Included in that mission is the charge to award scholarships, grants and internships to qualified individuals for education or work in the field of real estate appraisal.

Regional Scholarship Program

Each year, the Trust earmarks a total of $10,000 ($1,000 for each of the Appraisal Institute’s 10 regions) to fund scholarships to associate members of the Appraisal Institute who are active in appraising and need financial assistance to take Appraisal Institute courses leading to the SRA or MAI designation. The awards are given for a specific class, and therefore, the monies are sent directly to the chapter offering that class. The award is only applicable toward the cost of the class, and not travel, books or lodging. Since in most cases classes are less than $1,000, the scholarship monies are available for more than one recipient from each region. Since the scholarships are for classes that are offered at any point during the year, the Regional Scholarship Program has a December 15 deadline for courses offered early in the following year. That round of scholarships will be awarded by January 31. The remainder of the funds will be awarded via an open, ongoing deadline until the entirety for that year has been awarded, according to Appraisal Institute Manager of Membership Services, Wendy Woodburn.

The 2006 recipients thus far are: Keeshawn Andrew of Culver City, Calif.; Claire Aufrance of Greensboro, N.C.; Myung Choi of La Canada, Calif.; Brantley Clark of Lexington, S.C.; Kathleen Kragen of Alamo, Calif.; Teresa MacNutt of Belmont, Mass.; Michelle Madayag of Bellevue, Wash.; Melissa Manning of Pompano Beach, Fla.; Nate Robinson of Los Angeles; Laurie Wilcher of Farmersville, Texas; and Mildred Wilson of Conifer, Colo.

As of August, monies were still available in six of the 10 regions for 2006. To download a regional scholarship application, visit

Minorities and Women Scholarship Fund

In addition to focusing on fulfilling the needs of its current members and aiding them in moving toward their designation, the AIET also looks to fund the future appraiser by offering up to 10 scholarships worth at least $1,000 each to minority and women college students pursuing academic degrees in real estate appraisal or related fields. Applicants must be full- or part-time students enrolled in real estate courses within a degree granting college/university or junior college/university. They must have a cumulative grade point average of no less than 2.5 on a 4.0 scale and demonstrate financial need.

The 2006 scholarship recipients include: Alma Cibrian of Pasadena, Calif., who is attending University of Southern California; Chelsea Fritcher of New Era, Mich., Ferris State University (Michigan); Daniel Gasti of Orlando, Fla., University of Florida; Vanessa Gonzalez-Vinas of Gainesville, Fla., University of Florida; Marcella McCune of McMinnville, Ore., Marylhurst University (Oregon); Mallory Minichbauer of Valrico, Fla., University of Florida; Wosenseged Negussie of Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Cincinnati; Jasyn Sayre of Chesapeake, Va., Old Dominion University (Virginia); Karin Schulz of Houston, Texas, Peirce College (Pennsylvania); and Marcus Winters of Dayton, Texas, Texas A & M.

In her application, Cibrian stated that in her three years of working as a commercial real estate appraiser, mentored by Steven Norris, MAI, of Pasadena, Calif., while attending USC, she has come to realize the importance of pursuing the MAI designation after graduation. “The MAI designation is important because it epitomizes the highest industry standards in the appraisal profession and entails a degree of professional integrity,” she wrote.

Recipient Sayre also works for an Appraisal Institute member, Bruce Hatfield, MAI, SRA, of Chesapeake, Va. During the last four years, she has taken a variety of Appraisal Institute courses, all of which she has passed, including Basic Appraisal Principles, which she challenged. This has left her with 183 education hours, qualifying her for the general license in Virginia, which she hopes to receive by October. Once she graduates in the summer of 2007, she says Hatfield has her slated to work enough to gain the necessary experience to attain designation by age 26.

Other recipients were less traditional, such as Fritcher who hopes to combine her double major in real estate and social work to research and procure housing being sold at below-market rates in order to offer assistance to low-income families.

Two of the University of Florida recipients also hope to combine disciplines, in their case: law and real estate. Gonzalez-Vinas, also a recipient last year, will do so through the Law School’s Joint Degree Program for the Masters in Real Estate and Law. Gasti, who already holds undergraduate and law degrees, was pulled back to school via his mother’s love of–and 36 years of experience in–real estate. His father, on the other hand, was a professional jai-alai player for over 20 years; his career was one of the main reasons Gasti’s parents emigrated to the U.S. from the Basque region of Spain in the 1960s.

Of the educational facilities represented, only USC and Texas A & M are members of the Appraisal Institute’s Master’s Degree Program, which means that word of the program is going beyond those institutions directly affiliated with the Appraisal Institute, Woodburn notes.


Applicants for either the Regional or Minority and Women Scholarships must be minorities defined as “a racial, ethnic, or gender group underrepresented in the real estate appraisal profession. Such groups include women, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Asians, Black or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders,” according to the application form.

To download an application, visit For more information on either of these opportunities, contact project coordinator Wendy Woodburn at or 312-335-4191.

AIET Scholarships

In addition to these two scholarships, the AIET offers additional scholarships to graduate and undergraduate students, which are awarded on the basis of academic excellence and is intended to help students majoring in real estate appraisal, land economics, real estate or allied fields at a university or community college in the United States. The scholarships are worth $2,000 for undergraduate (sophomores, juniors and seniors) and $3,000 for graduate students. Applications are available each November with a due date of March 15.

For information on the AIET scholarships, contact coordinator Sylvia Davila at or 312-335-4129.

by Adam Webster, Managing Editor, Valuation Insights & Perspectives

COPYRIGHT 2006 The Appraisal Institute

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